Friday, July 27, 2007

House Cleaning

On Friday May 25th Texas House of Representatives Speaker Tom Craddick caused an uproar in the House by refusing to recognize Representative Fred Hill's motion to vacate the Speaker from office. Although refusing to grant recognition is not entirely abnormal and has been used by many Speakers before Craddick, the Texas constitution requires that the decision to grant or refuse a motion coincide with "rules and usage in priority," i.e. there must be a constitutional reason.

Craddick did not give a reason for the refusal, but he did call upon his "unqualified power to grant and deny recognition" to avoid further inquiries before abruptly recessing the session for a full two and a half hours.

An interesting approach, no?

It's understandable that the Speaker would not want to be removed from his position, but to deny representatives the ability to vote on the matter undermines the very principles for which he was elected. Authoritarianism is unpopular, tyranny - unconstitutional.

[For more information check out the 7/26 entry of Burka Blog, the May 26th issue of the Dallas News, and the Special Session videos on KLRU (]

Thursday, July 19, 2007

South Houston Showdown

Last Sunday evening Houston state Rep. Borris Miles encountered two thieves attempting to steal copper from the kitchen of his soon-to-be-finished home. One robber threw a knife at Miles; the Rep. shot him in the left leg with his concealed handgun.

What's ironic about this scenario is that Miles had recently voted against legislation expanding citizens' rights to defend their homes against intruders. Senate Bill 378 allowed for citizens to use immediate defense against those who illegally enter their homes without first having to flee attack - as previous legislation required. Gov. Rick Perry has already signed the bill into law; it will be effective September first.

The obvious irony in this article makes it an amusing read: while Miles may have voted against Bill 378, his hands-on demonstration of the necessity for citizens to be able to protect themselves against intruders only further supports this legislation. Although not all citizens are licensed to carry concealed handguns (as Miles is), one would hope that everyone would be permitted the ability to defend themselves likewise without fear of prosecution.

(Read the full story at